Although not up to the excellence of the classic 1936 film starring Charles Boyer and Danielle Darrieux, this remake of the tragic romance between Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria and commoner Maria Vetsera is still quite compelling. Omar Sharif is burdened with the worst haircut imaginable, yet when he looks longingly at lovely Catherine Deneuve, it should send your heart fluttering. And while Maria isn't as strongly written as the character should be, Deneuve projects innocent maturity beautifully. Ava Gardner and James Mason don't have much to do, but James Robertson Justice is a joy as Prince Edward of England. Extraordinary production values make it a visual delight. Finally, while the script fails to properly explain the political situation that would drive Rudolph to his drastic decision, director Terence Young builds the tension to heartbreaking pathos, with the final moments fully worthy of a great tearjerker.
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